Democracy by the People, coming soon from Cambridge University Press

Eugene Mazo and I have put together a new book on reforming campaign finance in the United States, soon available from Cambridge University Press and

Here are some advance comments:

“At a time when pay-to-play plutocrats and foreign presidential payoffs are choking off government by the people, the contributors to this timely collection are reviving the project of American democracy with a series of practical and viable reform proposals. In a dark time, we owe them thanks for bringing the light.” Jamie Raskin, Vice-Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and American University, Washington

“Many of us are discouraged about a campaign finance system that has led to widespread distrust of our political process. Reform seems impossible because of entrenched interests and an unsympathetic Supreme Court. But this timely book shows that significant pragmatic change is achievable. Democracy by the People is required reading for citizens, activists and scholars alike – it is a tour de force.” Ann Ravel, Former Chair and Commissioner, Federal Election Commission, and Former Chair, California Fair Political Practices Commission

More information coming soon…

The New Tyranny: A Preface to the 2016 Elections

My latest essay was just published by the World Financial Review here

Democracy in the United States has been replaced by a rival form of government premised upon the power of wealth. Not to be confused with mere corruption, plutocracy is an official system of rule built upon new interpretations of political speech, equality, and representation. The power of plutocracy rests upon public ignorance of and acquiescence to the profound transformation described in the pages that follow, perhaps the next American trend to sweep the globe… The New Tyranny

Ignorance is NOT bliss– here are two wake up calls

My colleague in England, Keith Ewing, has written The Death of Social Europe, a powerful article appearing back to back with my American Plutocracy. These two pieces are best read back to back, an exposé of where things are heading on both sides of the pond. Check them out by scrolling half way down this page

Capitalism v. Democracy profiled by The Journal of Economic Literature

I’m glad economists are taking notice of the book’s argument that money in politics corrupts capitalism. Most observers of big political spending and the Supreme Court’s case law focus on the harm inflicted upon democracy. I concur of course and develop facets of that argument; but I add that the harm to capitalism is at least as great, probably larger in fact, than the harm to democracy. (Vol. 53, No. 1, among a few books summarized for the journal’s readers, not a review)

The Harvard Law Review calls Capitalism v. Democracy “convincing[]….impressive…timely.”

The book received a very favorable review on
APR 10, 2015 (128 Harv. L. Rev. 1894):
“Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution. By Timothy K. Kuhner. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press. 2014. Pp. xiii, 360. $27.95. America depends on two foundational institutions — democracy and capitalism. Although each is based on values central to American ideals, the interaction of these institutions can be mutually corrosive. In Capitalism v. Democracy, Professor Timothy Kuhner convincingly shows that by blurring the line between economic and democratic values and rationalities, the legal regime governing money in politics has made this corrosion manifest. Professor Kuhner’s impressive book brings economic and political theory to bear on the evolution of the constitutional law of democracy, which he argues not only permits but ‘amplifie[s]’ the substitution of democratic values for free-market notions of economic competition in the political sphere (p. xi). The upshot of subjecting economic competition to a regime of constitutional rights is the loss not only of democracy but also of capitalism: innovation-producing economic competition is neglected amid battles over political influence. Kuhner ultimately determines that ‘[t]he free market theory now governing the law of democracy is so comprehensive and absolute’ that only a constitutional amendment or a change in the Court’s composition could properly separate politics from economics (p. 93). Professor Kuhner’s timely book will interest scholars and reformers alike.”